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2022 MLB Draft 1st Round Primer: Current Players

Only one current Diamond Dore has a chance to go in the 1st round this year, and it’s not a lock he will do so. One former Dore might hear his name called again (though not by the Mets).

Syndication: The Tennessean Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

*The 2022 MLB Draft takes place on Sunday July 17th through Tuesday July 19th. In the coming days, I’ll give you Vanderbilt centric primers of the current players and prospects, and my best guesses at where they are likely to be drafted. With the commits, I will also hazard my best guess at the probability they will eschew the MLB Bonus money and suit up in gangster pajamas in 2023. Today, we begin with the current possible first rounders.

Which Current Players Could Hear Their Names Called in the First Round?

#34 Jr. OF Spencer “Dr. Jones” Jones

Curent MLB Prospect Ranking: #51

2022 Stats: .370/.460/.643 with 21 2B, 3 3B, 12 HR, 60 RBI, and 14-15 Stolen Bases.

‘22 was the year Dr. Jones made MLB scouts stand up and take notice. He repeatedly murdered balls with exit velos in the 113 mph range (there are maybe a handful of people on the planet that can do that), showed advanced plate discipline, and drove pitches the opposite way. All of these things point to a player who is ascending like a con sarned rocket. In addition, he truly can turn into a 5 tool player and one of the best overall players in the draft, as he has a pitcher’s arm in RF, has been one of the fastest players at this year’s Draft Combine, and is improving as a contact hitter, power hitter, and defensive outfielder.

If I had a draft pick after the top 15 in this draft, I’d take him, as he’s one of the few players available this year with legitimate All Star potential. In short, he’s one year behind JJ Bleday on the development curve, and he did not transition to a full time hitter until last year. Other than presumptive #1 overall pick Druw Jones (more on why you should not even give one thought to him suiting up in gangster pajamas in the Commits 1st Round Primer article I will post later this week), there is not another player whose tools and potential stand taller than that of Spencer Jones. If his potential ever turns kinetic, you’re looking at a mix of JJ Bleday and Aaron Judge, with the loping outfield defense of Von Hayes, the oppo discipline of John Olerud, and the arm of Dave Winfield. Oh, and if offense doesn’t work out for him, he could try his luck as a pitcher, in a reverse-trajectory-Rick Ankiel of sorts.

Though Dr. Jones is still ranked just outside the top 50 on mlb.com, he’s got the most helium of any college prospect right now, and is being mocked towards the back end of the first round with the Yankees, for one, showing sincere interest. I mean, the Bronx Bombers certainly have had some success with extremely tall athletic outliers in the recent past.

Oh, and he’s currently tearing up the MLB Draft Combine (which, yes, is a relatively new thing), pacing everyone in peripheral categories that makes scouts drool like exit velocity and speed:


Which Former Players Could Hear Their Names Called in the First Round?

#80 RHP Kumar “White Castle/K-Rock/RagnaRöcker” Rocker

Curent MLB Prospect Ranking: #38

2021 Stats: 14-4, 2.73 ERA, 13.20 K/9, 2.88 BB/9

Here’s what I wrote about him last year:

Kumar Rocker would likely have heard his name in the 2018 First Round had he not told teams his commitment to Vanderbilt was firm. We know he passed up a multi-million dollar signing bonus, and later on, learned that his mom, Lalitha was one of the main drivers behind this decision. When we build the statue of Kumar, Lalitha should be standing right next to him (and his father, Tracy, should be sitting behind them stoically/unemotionally eating snacks, as is his wont).

*Note: I love this family so much.

Do I really need to sell you on Mr. June getting picked in the first round? He threw a 19K no hitter as a Freshman in the Super Regionals against Duke. He was immediately the best pitcher on the team once he stepped foot on campus, was the 2019 CWS Most Outstanding Player, and it is only the otherworldly stuff of Jack Leiter this year that has put in doubt who was the best pitcher in college baseball. He’s got a Championship Ring (2019), willed the team to the 2021 CWS Finals, and only a global pandemic which cancelled the sport before conference play kept him from going to Omaha in each season of his Vanderbilt career. Come on. You know Kumar, Jack Leiter, and an MVP bat in Austin Martin gets us to Omaha. I’m not saying we definitely repeat in 2020, but SCREW IT, YES I AM, CON SARN IT!

Simply put, he’s had the greatest career of any athlete to ever come to Vanderbilt, and it would have looked even stronger had the 2020 season existed past March.

He’s got a high 90s heater, a bowel-emptying slider, and he’s working on a passable cutter and change.

You know the story: The NY Mets took Rocker #10 overall last year, but then refused to sign him due to getting cold feet after a medical report (in which they never told anyone what, specifically, spooked them). As such, Rocker sat out this year until the past few weeks where he’s been throwing in the high 90s and dominating Indy League Ball.

Here’s what top ESPN baseball draft guy Kiley McDaniel has to say:

Again, as always, the Mets are dumb.